Happy Travel Stories: Petra
Wherever you go, go with all of your heart. ~ Confucius
So I’ve been thinking recently about starting a new series of posts. I have lots of little stories from my travels, things that happen that are too long for a Twitter (@ministryofhappy) post, not quite able to be captured on Instagram (@reverendmichaelkane) and not a full blog post by themselves. But they might make for some nice small blog posts now and then. And since tonight I’m fighting with a head cold and a bit low on energy I’d write a smaller than normal post and test run this idea, so I hope you’ll bear with me.
Entering Petra you walk through a long canyon known as the Siq. As we entered at dawn the rose-colored rock in the early light was truly spectacular. We spent an amazing day in the city, I wrote about Petra in a previous post.
Within the city there are many Bedouin people, they live in Petra and make a living hustling the tourists so we had our fair share of approaches. In the morning, the Bedouin who rented us the donkeys we rode up to the Monastery conveniently ended his ride at his sisters “store” on the side of the climb. She was really interesting and we sat and had tea while they tried to sell us at least 20 different items. One of the things that you are offered multiple times throughout the day are ancient coins found at the site. While there certainly have been people n Petra for 2300 years and most certainly there are likely ancient coins to be found, it’s not likely that there are the hundreds available for sale each day. As such, I was very leery of anyone who was offering to sell me rare coins.
As the day ended and we were leaving through the Siq we encountered a very old Bedouin. His English was not great and of course he was offering to show me some coins. I smiled and politely declined, I even considered buying one since he was such a pleasant fellow and I’m sure not able to hustle like the younger Bedouin. But in the end, I thanked him and started to walk by, but he stopped me and pointed to the wall of the Siq and said, “Camel.” At first, I didn’t understand and so he pointed more closely and I saw it, and as he pointed to some more I came to realize something really amazing. The entire Siq, all of what had to have been at least a mile of canyon walls, had at one time been completely carved. As we looked more closely, we could barely make out, caravans with camels, elephants and all manners of carvings. I would have never seen it if it wasn’t for this old Bedouin. I thanked him profusely and then decided to buy a coin from him. But he smiled and this time he declined, then he took a coin and placed it in my hand a wished me well.
Now maybe he gave me a 2300 year-old coin, maybe he gave me a ten-cent fake, but the kindness he showed me was worth more than either. This is one of the reasons I travel, just for these type of amazing little interactions, in small corners of the world.
Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane